Like so much lost in the blur of the last several disrupted weeks, I basically missed Lent.
I can blame circumstances, but for the first time in my life I made enough of those get-to-this-now, get-to-that-tomorrow decisions day by day that suddenly it was Easter.
I confess that in order to tell you this: I did have maybe one brief moment of Lent. A friend and I were talking about this Christian practice of observing a period of penitence and reflection. For many, it involves denial, as in I gave up chocolate or hockey or profanity for Lent. Been there, done that.
I told my friend I'm at a point where it's not about denying myself something as a visible reminder to myself about our higher purpose. It's about a mindset.
My wavering, unsteady focus is on one word.
We are told, in a hundred ways by a loud and frantic culture, to want more, do more, be more, own more, own it all and the next guy's too. Otherwise, we are failures.
I'm not much of a fan of Michael Moore, but in pitching one of his movies years ago he said this. “Enough” is the dirtiest word in capitalism. He has a point.
To the extent that our materialistic culture measures success by the size of our houses and bank accounts, he might as well have said it's the dirtiest word in America.
Elvis said it all in '56. As did the Beatles in '64. You might think of us born in between arrived at the perfect moment of the American century. Our country led the world, and how could our standard of living do anything but rise forever?
The lies and tragedy of Vietnam and Watergate lay ahead, then oil-price shocks and the grim, lingering economic crisis of the '70s, and more wars, Challenger and 9/11, the market crash of '87 and the market meltdown of '08.
Each, we were told, was the end of an era, a change to our way of life, a time to adapt and readjust our expectations. And now we have this moment. It’s getting old.
We crave predictability and material security. Other generations knew what so many of us have denied. Security is fleeting, and events are inescapable. Time and chance happeneth to us all, as Scripture says.
Do you have enough for today? Are the lights and water on, and is there money in the bank to pay for it? Do you read good books? Does your baseball team give you hope? Do you experience moments of quiet? Moments of joy? Moments of beauty?
Do you keep on going? Isn’t that enough?
Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @FoxEJC.